Dangerous Designs

That temporary tattoo could be with you for a long, long time

"This is the real stuff — real black henna," he told a New Times reporter. "Not like that yellow shit. This doesn't look fake. That's why it costs so much."

When asked about his product's effect on sensitive skin, he said: "Don't be a chicken. It doesn't hurt. How's this — if it hurts, it's free."

Kaplan, of the Broward County Consumer Affairs Division, is frustrated to learn that black henna is still in Fort Lauderdale, four years after he first investigated it. "If this information has been out there so long, why hasn't some agency or the legislature decided to regulate it?" he says. "Clearly, at the very least, I would say ban the product or at least disclose that there have been incidents of people having allergic reactions to this product."

The good news is that New Edition, near the Elbo Room on A1A, where Steven Roberts encountered black henna four years ago, no longer offers henna tattoos. A staffer said they did sell them up until a year ago, until it "just wasn't worth it anymore."

Apparently, market forces are better public health regulators than, well, public health regulators.

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